‘Going Green’ as an Imperative
With escalating concerns over irrevocable environmental damage, businesses across industries are focusing much of their efforts on green initiatives. Going green is an imperative that not only reaps global ecological benefits, but also actualizes a plenitude of benefits for organizations to profit upon.
Focusing primarily on human resources, professionals have recognized the value of realigning candidate and employee management processes with more environmentally-focused ones. This white paper outlines the challenges HR professionals face in implementing green initiatives, proposed solutions, and the tangible and intangible benefits possible when creating an eco-friendly candidate and employee management process.
Talent Management is the process of ensuring an organization has a continuous supply of highly productive individuals in the right job at the right time. This includes implementing strategies designed to increase workplace productivity and improve processes for attracting, developing, and retaining people with the required skills and competencies to meet current and future business needs. Talent Management includes employee surveys, performance management, training and development, internal job transfers and more. It is the underlying backbone of a quality workforce at a company.
Without proper and efficient talent management processes in place, companies could suffer from minimal worker productivity, high turnover resulting from unsatisfied employees, and possible compliance issues. The candidate and employee management function drives employee development and motivates workers to perform above satisfactory, which can be directly tied to company revenue. It is also this system that has been termed highly paper-intensive - stemming from a long list of required documents such as applications, offer letters, benefits packages, performance reports, employee surveys and much more. Remaining compliant with government regulation is also a common hindrance in eliminating excess paper waste. Dictated by EEO and OFCCP compliance, companies are required to hold important candidate and employee related documents for a certain length of time.
The green approach. For this paper’s purposes, the “green approach” can be defined as a system that enables human resources tasks to be more environmentally-friendly via web-based technology. Finding a way to “green up” will not only reduce environmental degradation, but will also make possible a great deal of profit and brand enhancing benefits for the company. Below is a list of Five benefits to going green in talent management.
The Tangible Benefits
Going green in talent management has many tangible benefits. The following details the concrete outcomes expected when implementing a more efficient and environmentally-friendly human resources program.
On average, office workers in the U.S. use 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year, which equates to 4 million tons of copy
1) Going Paperless
HR professionals are constantly striving to improve efficiency within the workplace. However, when processes are still largely paper-intensive, the initiative is difficult to implement. The talent management program demands a great deal of paper resources detailing the entire talent lifecycle from application entry to exit interview. Human resources professionals can often be overwhelmed by the large stack of abeyant candidate and employee documents waiting to be reviewed or filed. For example, once a qualified candidate is hired, they are required to complete a multitude of new hire forms such as W-4s, I-9s, benefit forms, and much more; thus, making the entire process highly paper-intensive. Even more paper waste is accrued after an employee’s start date when such documents as annual performance reviews, employee referrals and surveys, among others, come into play. After all is said and done, do companies ever step back to look at how much paper is wasted in the process? If the United States were to reduce its office paper use by just 10%, it would prevent the emission of 1.6 million tons of greenhouse gas, or the equivalent to taking 280,000 cars off the road.1
Green approaches can actually rid the HR department of paper reliance. All necessary paperwork can be completed through web-based talent management systems, eliminating the need for paper applications, onboarding documents, performance reviews and much more. A study of 50 Fortune 500 companies revealed that the average company cut about six days off its hiring cycle by posting jobs online instead of in newspapers, another four days by utilizing online applications instead of paper ones and more than a week by screening and processing applications electronically.2 These online talent management processes not only automate paperwork into an easy-to-follow and organized online format, but also eliminate the guesswork involved in deciphering handwritten forms.
Online talent management provides a more efficient and effective alternative to paper forms while at the same time reducing a company’s carbon footprint.
Applicant Tracking Systems enable a completely paperless recruitment process.
2) Reducing Internal Costs
As stated above, every new employee is required to fill out an employee application, a W-4, an I-9 and state and local tax documents; not to mention, benefits packages and other onboarding documents. Not only is this creating an enormous amount of paper usage, but it is also absorbing a tremendous amount of company time. With a green approach, the process is entirely automated, greatly reducing the time spent on document management and traditional HR-related costs.
Due to the comprehensive nature of the onboarding process, human resource professionals often assist new recruits with document completion. This is important, but the process is very time consuming. The green approach automates all documents into a user-friendly online portal making it easy-to-complete for recent hires. More importantly, it enables HR professionals to spend less time on document management and more time on important employee development initiatives. HR professional productivity is greatly increased, and in turn organizations reap a greater return.
Additionally, the talent management process is organized completely online by automating and streamlining all candidate and employee data. As a result, HR professionals are first, finding they do not need paper and second, do not need the space to store the paper. Green talent management programs reduce the need for bulky and cumbersome office storage equipment as well as the space to house the office equipment.
The data centralized in a secure online location is highly searchable, thus saving time, energy, and valuable dollars spent in going through paper files in a cabinet. Ernst & Young reports that the average time it takes to retrieve and re-file a paper document is ten minutes. Of those paper documents, the cost of recovering a misfiled document is $120. On top of that, research also shows that the average person wastes 150 hours per year looking for lost documents. That is almost one month spent shuffling through papers.3 Instead, people tend to pile rather than file, which creates even more clutter. With an online system, there is no need to search through papers, because the system has a built-in search feature that can retrieve both candidate and employee documents with little to no effort. This increased organization leads to higher productivity; and ultimately results in more expansive cost savings.
3) Improved Reporting Capabilities
Utilizing green approaches to talent management often fosters better reporting capabilities. Adopting a web-based system that is inherently green not only enables companies to save countless hours wasted on manual data entry and administrative tasks, but also augments quicker proficiency results. Departmental analyses are more easily accessible allowing HR professionals to visualize the inefficiencies - including resources wasted, processes to improve upon and overall departmental success. Web-based talent management programs streamline all candidate and employee data into a centralized location creating a fully searchable and reportable software for HR professionals to base efficiency-building decisions off of. Expense tracking reports, EEO/OFCCP reports, executive reports on employee records or performance reviews and source effectiveness reports can all be accessed through web-based functionality, resulting in increased efficiency.
From paperless processes to more highly searchable data, web-based reporting functions enable a more effective talent management program. According to SHRM, providing hiring decision makers with important information is essential. Automated systems provide users with the ability to rapidly collect and analyze the data needed to make more effective staffing decisions.4
While there are obvious cost and efficiency benefits in adopting a green approach to conduct business, less obvious yet extremely vital benefits also occur. Below details the intangible benefits a company may reap after initiating a green approach.
4) Brand Perception
According to Earthshare.org, a recent poll on green employment by MonsterTRAK.com found that 80 percent of young professionals are interested in securing a job that has a positive impact on the environment, and 92% would be more inclined to work for a company that is environmentally-friendly.5 What does this mean for a business that is environmentally conscious? A larger applicant pool to choose quality candidates from.
Top talent is quick to relate to a company that values the same ideals. What better way to engage and then, recruit these qualified professionals than by actualizing the green image that they desire? Creating a more positive, green brand perception through green approaches can drastically improve candidate engagement and ultimately help human resources professionals build a more qualified workforce.
Engaging top talent is essentially similar to the process of engaging consumers. One of the most powerful tools in marketing to consumers is knowing the target audience. This is the same when sourcing top talent. Target candidates require green efforts; therefore, companies must comply if they are to attain these candidates. Top talent is more likely to choose companies operating under a green approach, just as the consumer would be more likely to choose the green brand as seen in the chart below. The Boston Consulting Group surveyed participants in the following countries- US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Canada, Spain and found consumers are willing to spend more on a product that is healthier, safer or more beneficial for the environment, regardless of the current economy state. BCG has also found that an astonishing 73%, nearly ¾ of the participants, find it important or very important that companies have a good environmental track record.
Implementing green approaches helps businesses target both consumers and top talent alike. In 2003, CSR Monitor by GlobeScan showed that 70 percent of North American students would not apply for a job that was not considered socially responsible.6 Additionally, 66 percent to 90 percent of participating organizations cited improved public image as an effect of corporate social responsibility practices. Corporations were also more likely to realize a great competitive advantage after exhibiting good corporate social responsibility.7
Implementing a green approach reflects very positively on a company’s brand image, thus resulting in a larger talent pool, a higher caliber of applicants, more qualified new recruits to onboard, and ultimately, a stronger class of employees to foster company success.
5) Global Footprint
In today’s global marketplace, businesses are operating in more international locations, and therefore, a greater emphasis is being made on the effect of business operations on other countries. Global government has also increased pressure on international businesses to create more green jobs through greener measures.8 Implementing a green talent management program is a healthy step towards this initiative. Greener processes should be utilized when recruiting, onboarding and managing international employees. For example, to foster employee development, virtual trainings and educational documents can be hosted and routed online - reducing the chance of inflicting environmental damage including excessive paper waste or vehicle emissions used for travel. Governments are also expecting a larger cooperation of international businesses with these green efforts. According to a recent study by SHRM, one of the leading interests in the human resources world lies in the global intelligence and global mindset. As the nature of doing business changes, human resource roles are expanding and refocusing. Far from simply reacting to major events in the business climate, economy and labor market, HR professionals are asked to proactively participate in how their company’s business operations impact the world, and in this particular case, the global environment.9 As such, online talent management programs help HR professionals actively participate in the green initiatives the world is calling for.
By reducing paper and energy waste and fostering a green talent management process, human resources managers can play a large role in helping to reduce a company’s global carbon footprint.
Web-based Talent Management programs offer state-of-the-art international functionality such as multilingual applications.
How iCIMS Can Help
iCIMS’ Talent Platform streamlines the entire talent management process enabling a paperless approach to human resources. Serving over 800 clients worldwide with offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific; iCIMS redefines the once paper-intensive department with its state-of-the-art green functionality. iCIMS’ Talent Platform provides clients with streamlined candidate management tools such as workforce planning, applicant tracking and onboarding; while also simplifying the employee management process with functionality such as employee data management, performance management and self service portals. iCIMS helps organizations effectively improve their talent management process while also helping to reduce a company’s carbon footprint.
iCIMS’ online portals and automated iForms help organizations all over the world automate much of their talent management program and thus, reduce their overall effect on the environment. As an environmentally conscious company itself, and valuing the importance of such awareness, iCIMS also offers incentives for companies who want to reduce their carbon footprint in human resources through the iCare program.
iCIMS clients benefit from an unparalleled customer experience and award winning customer support teams. Try the free candidate management software demo today and see how iCIMS can help you green up!9
1 It’s Easy Being Green: The Paper Elephant
2 Making the Most of On-Line Recruiting
3 It Takes Time To Make Money. Paauwerfully Organized
5 Greening Business
7 Global Corporate Social Responsibility
8 Declaration on Green Growth